Drones are everywhere these days, from the military to the next door neighbors, they’ve become more prolific and ubiquitous and that certainly won’t be changing anytime soon. A few years ago when news of Amazon wanting to provide delivery via drones, reactions were mixed, from fear to excitement. More recently, Amazon submitted plans for a drone hive patent and, again, reactions are mixed. In Dubai, however, drones are on another level – transportation, of humans!
A Fully Autonomous Flying Machine
EHang, the company behind the drone, introduced the drone to crowds at CES in Las Vegas last year after 100 successful test flights with hopes that they would be the next big thing in big tech. EHang CFO Shang Hsiao described the drone as “a fully autonomous flying machine.” While it’s not completely autonomous, it’s darn close.
How Does it Work?
The process is quite simple. Hop in the drone and enter your destination on the touch screen. Then sit back in the air conditioned, one-passenger ride – complete with wifi, and the drone will deliver you to your destination. With fail-safe measures in place including backup power and human command centers acting as a team of pseudo-air traffic controllers, these air taxis provide comfort and convenience while taking safety very seriously.
The Safety of Composites
The drone’s design is not only for efficiency but also for safety. Ehang’s Industrial Design Center (IDC) has utilized and independently developed composite material ensuring that the drones will be safe and high performing. This composite material, based on aeronautical material, is comprised of carbon fiber and epoxy with a matching aerial aluminum alloy. These materials are the same as those for building space crafts.
Take a Ride
If you’re ready to take a solo ride, you don’t have to wait much longer, Dubai’s Road & Transportation Agency was set to launch trips in the electric autonomous aerial drone vehicle in July of 2017, though that’s been delayed for more testing scheduled to take place before the end of the year. The air taxis travel short distances at 62 miles per hour. The 184 drone is large enough to carry one passenger under 220 pounds and a small suitcase. If you’d like to ride with a friend, however, you’ll have to wait a little longer. Tests for a two-passenger drone are next on the test schedule. While a delay for more tests seems negative, it’s likely not to be an issue. United Arab Emirates’ Prime Minister set an aggressive goal of requiring 25% of all passenger trips be made in driverless vehicles by 2030.
Start planning your trip to Dubai so you can climb aboard one of their autonomous air taxis! In planning your trip, be sure to read our article, Luxury Getaways: The Ultimate Dubai Itinerary.